Today we went to a pottery art gallery as our first activity. These folks are true artisans creating very high quality unique art. The studio is owned by fifth generation artisans and is an entirely family owned operation, which creates most of the pottery in house and hiring some additional artist t help with the special (think expensive) pieces. The pottery from this part of Turkey is world-renowned and is shown in art galleries around the world.
After the gallery we traveled to an underground city. The city is completely underground and was created originally by the Hittites as a way to store their produce and wine. During the first century the Christians in the area would retreat into the city to flee persecution from the Romans. The cities could hold 1,500 people and sometimes 2,000 people. The city was four stories deep with designated areas for worship, water, storage and other life. The ventilation shafts were often camouflaged so that their air supply wasn’t cut off. They would cook at night so the smoke wouldn’t have been seen. When the persecution passed they would return to the villages above and then use the caves for food storage.
The city was used heavily until the third century when Christians were no longer persecuted. They were used again in the 6th and 9th centuries, as marauders would pillage the Christian towns. I was reminded how thankful I am to live in a country where we don’t have to hide in caves or be secretive about our love for Christ. I was also touched by the worship space in the city. In the midst of persecution the Christians would sing, pray, hear messages about Jesus, the One they were being persecuted because of. I find this very inspirational because we can so easily take our relationship with Christ, the Church and fellow believers for granted. We can get caught up into consumer Christianity where our congregation is there to meet our needs; when we want, and how we want.
This is just the opposite; it is all about Christ and faith in Him. Life becomes about living our faith and passing on the faith. If those Christians had renounced their faith then Christianity in this part of the world during that time period would have died out. Instead, it grew and was passed on from generation to generation for almost three hundred years until Constantine ceased persecution of Christians. We can learn a lot about what it is important from these ancient people.
Dad and I are doing well. The schedule is a little tough for me but I am still holding up well. I am able to rest this afternoon and go to bed early tonight which is good.
The food is very good in all the places we are going, I am enjoying going to local places and eating local dishes. Tomorrow we are going to Antioch, which is a very important Biblical city.
For some photos of todays trip click here.